Well, I promise this is the last chapter of talking. The actual action will pick up next time. Sorry for making you wait so long.
The Staff of Ogre
Chapter 9: Awakening
Kenshi stared out the window of the small hotel room, watching the rain fall outside. It had been almost eight hours since Yoshimitsu went out to check on the Zaibatsu. They had bought a room in a hotel less than a mile away from the Mishima Zaibatsu building, and Yoshimitsu had said he'd heard some disturbances coming from that direction. Without any mechanical devices to enhance his hearing, Kenshi couldn't tell either way. He really wished Yoshimitsu would return already with a plan of attack. Just sitting around like this was forcing Kenshi to think about what he'd lost over the past week.
Images of his wife's beautiful face and his son's smile continued to haunt him every second of the day. He silently cursed himself for not being strong enough to protect them. If only he could have done something to stop the Zaibatsu, or Bryan for that matter, he might have saved at least someone. All he had to show for himself now was his own miserable life. He felt so worthless and helpless watching so many of his comrades and friends slaughtered in front of his eyes. All he could do now was try and bring those men to justice for what they had done.
His only consolation was that he'd been wrong about there having been no survivors. Yoshimitsu had received a report from Dr. Boskonovich earlier in the week and he had informed them that a few of the Manji warriors had been able to send their wives and children away before the Zaibatsu wiped everyone out. Some of the elders from the village were also able to hide from the Zaibatsu's wrath. Cleanup was already beginning around the village and they'd have to start rebuilding the clan after they made Heihachi and Bryan pay for their crimes.
Kenshi turned towards the other occupants of the room. Things were beginning to get a little crowded as of late. Three strangers had shown up at the door about two days earlier seeking help from Yoshimitsu. Apparently, they had stopped by Dr. Boskonovich's lab and he told them exactly where to find Yoshimitsu. While this seemed to be a growing trend as of late, neither of the two Manji ninjas minded the extra help. As long as Boskonovich wasn't pointing the wrong people in their direction then they were fine with it.
The leader of the group's name was Marshall Law. From what Kenshi had heard, the man's son had been kidnapped by the Zaibatsu. Marshall was accompanied by Paul Phoenix, a bumbling loudmouth who seemed out of place in the group. It was hard to believe that both of them were extremely accomplished martial artists who competed in several Iron Fist Tournaments already. But they again, Yoshimitsu shared the same carefree personality that both of them had. The final member of the group went by the name of Hwoarang. Kenshi really had no idea what his story was since he seemed to enjoy keeping to himself.
Kenshi looked back toward Julia and Tim. Neither of them had said very much to him or Yoshimitsu since they joined up with them. They mostly kept to themselves and discussed their recent experiments and issues of reforestation. Kenshi mainly tried to shut them out when they started going on one of their rants. If he'd didn't know any better, he'd say they were a couple. Watching them together reminded him of when he and his wife were their age.
'Azumi'.' Kenshi whispered. He couldn't take it anymore. It was just too hard to think about how he had failed his family as a father and a protector. He could no longer wait to find the man who has murdered the two people who meant more to him than anything else in the world. He quickly scooped up his kamas and stormed toward the door, only to be met face to face with Yoshimitsu.
'And where are we going?' It was really more of a statement than a question. Yoshimitsu knew his second in command was growing quite weary just waiting around. He couldn't blame him, he wanted revenge just as much as Kenshi did.
Kenshi looked toward him and frowned. It was a lot easier for the Manji leader to read him now that he had lost his mask. 'I can't wait around here any longer sir.'
'He's not alone!' Marshall called out. He'd grown quite tired of lounging about with the knowledge that Forest was somewhere out there waiting for him.
'That's right! Let's crush these morons and rescue Forest so we can go home already!' Paul cried out while shaking his fist in the air. He looked toward Hwoarang for some reassurance but all he got in return was a sour look. He could almost hear Hwoarang calling him an idiot in his head.
Yoshimitsu sighed heavily. His group was acting like a bunch of children at this point. If he wasn't certain of their skills then he'd never even think about risking an attack on the Zaibatsu with them as backup. 'Look, I know everyone has been growing impatient with me.' He looked back toward Julia and her friend and noticed that they didn't even seem to be paying any attention to him. 'Well, almost all of you that is. But I have some news to report.'
Kenshi finally moved out of the doorway so Yoshimitsu could enter. He took his seat by the window once more to hear Yoshimitsu out one last time. 'Ok, what have you found out then?'
'The Zaibatsu had been attacked last night.' Yoshimitsu noted calmly. 'I don't know who they were or how many there were, but there was some damage.' He looked at each one of their faces, some showed shock while others had hints of relief in their eyes. 'They are currently in a state of disarray, so I think we should make our move by nightfall tomorrow.'
'Why not just go in now while they are recovering?' Julia Chang finally decided to turn her attention to the conversation. 'I mean, you said it yourself; the Zaibatsu is in disarray.'
Yoshimitsu frowned. He really didn't want to tell them that he had purposely walked in front of one of the security cameras earlier to send a message to Heihachi. 'Because the guards are on alert at this point. I want to give them some time to settle down before we make our move.'
'I get it now sensei.' Kenshi chimed in. 'They are prepared now, but by tomorrow they won't be expecting another attack!'
Yoshimitsu nodded in reply. 'Exactly. I'd also like to give you all some time to rest up and prepare yourselves.' He pointed the blade of his sword towards them. 'Be sure you are ready by tomorrow night or you will be left behind.' He himself had to take some time to meditate over this. Not only was he going into a hostile war zone, but he also had to face down a newly powered up Bryan Fury. He had no idea what the depths of the cyborg's powers were now thanks to that perpetual generator Dr. Boskonovich had installed. Things could end up getting very messy by the end of the night.
Rising from his seat, Kenshi approached his Yoshimitsu after noticing that he seemed to be out of it at this point. 'What's the matter sir, are you thinking about the village again?' Kenshi looked down toward the floor; he was having trouble making eye contact as of late. 'I'm sorry I let you down.'
Yoshimitsu looked toward Kenshi, feeling some newfound respect for him. It took a lot of courage to bear the burden of something so horrible even if he was not to blame. 'It wasn't your fault, I am positive that you did everything within your power.' He clenched his fist tightly, something he had been in the habit of doing as of late. 'By the end of the night, I plan to make Mr. Fury pay dearly for what he's done. I won't stop with him either; Heihachi will have to answer for all of the innocent people from the village that he slaughtered. A crime such as that is unforgivable!' He could feel the rage continuing to burn within him. Several times already during the night he had to stop himself from storming the building alone. There would be no rest for Mishima of Fury until they were both dead.
Kenshi looked toward him curiously as another thought suddenly entered his head. 'Sir, what do you plan to do if we run into Kunimitsu?'
'Huh?' Yoshimitsu had to give himself a mental slap for having forgotten. With all that has happened to his clan during the course of the past week, Kunimitsu never once crossed his mind. 'I don't have a plan for her?' He frowned at the thought. Yoshimitsu really didn't want to kill her. 'At this point in time, I have no idea what she wants to achieve. As I expected, there has been no word of her outside of what the spies have told us. I can't even say for sure that she actually is alive.'
'Do you think she had anything to do with the destruction of our clan' She was always an egotistical bitch, I wouldn't put it past her!' Kenshi couldn't help but feel hatred for her. Something about that traitor just rubbed him the wrong way. Maybe it had to do with the color of her hair or the fact that she was far more talented at such a young age then Kenshi even was now. Silly and vain reasons, but ones Kenshi simply could not get over.
It was upsetting for the Manji leader to hear his second in command talk about a former pupil that way. 'I raised her for almost fifteen years. She wouldn't do something like that.' He sighed deeply, this was something he never enjoyed thinking about. 'She wasn't always that way either. We both know where she comes from?' He paused to rethink his last statement. 'What I mean is, we know where both Kunimitsu and I originated from. While I was able to keep my own identity a secret from all but my most trusted warriors, Kunimitsu was proud of her hair color and she always kept it out in the open despite the cruelty and hatred she faced from her clansman.' He did wish he had done more for her when she needed him the most, but he never found out just how much prejudice she faced until after she had already turned on him. 'It must of killed her inside when I didn't do anything to help.'
'What could you have done' You can't change the minds of everyone in the clan.' Though he tried, Kenshi knew he wouldn't be able to ease the burden on his leader's heart.
'I could have been less of a coward myself. Maybe if they knew what I was, they would have been able to trust Kunimitsu more as well.' Deep down, Yoshimitsu knew that wasn't true yet he continued to lie to himself. 'It was also my fault for giving her so much power and responsibility at such a young age. Her ego grew as a way of fending off all of the criticism and hatred she had gotten from her comrades.' He lowered his head in guilt. Yoshimitsu didn't even know how he would be able to face her at this point. Not only was he unable to protect her from her own clan, but he had also nearly taken her life. He never even had the heart to tell where she came from or why she had been so hated in the first place. If she had known the truth about both of them, she may not have turned out the way she did. The turmoil she was probably going through would be too much for anyone to bear. 'To think, at one point I even considered myself a father figure in her life.'
The words of his leader were beginning to get through to him at last. Kenshi had harbored some unjust hatred for her himself, something that he never really thought about until Yoshimitsu made it as clear as day. He trusted Yoshimitsu with his life; he at least could have been a bit more caring toward her when she had still been in the clan. 'I know how you must feel. If we run into her, maybe you can get through to her and get a bit of redemption for what happened over twenty years ago.' He directed this toward himself as well. Saving Kunimitsu could be his last shot at redemption as well.
Yoshimitsu smiled briefly. He was secretly hoping to meet up with her sooner rather than later. Even despite her actions, he still loved her as if she were his own child. He turned toward the doorway and looked off in the direction of the Zaibatsu. 'Kunimitsu?'
Kunimitsu sat impatiently atop one of Dr. Abel's filing cabinets waiting for yet another one of Heihachi's mandatory meetings. At least she could feel more comfortable this time since she had worn some of her loose fitting training gear. But still, these things were really starting to become a pain. It had been nearly two days since the Zaibatsu had been attacked, and things had returned to their usual dullness. She had noticed that many of Heihachi's cutthroats were on edge as of late so she tried her best to keep to herself since the attack.
Crossing her legs, she looked across the room at Bryan Fury who had been leaning against the wall. He looked different in snakeskin pants and a black shirt as compared to a tuxedo, but his face was unmistakable. Kunimitsu's only meeting with him left her with a sour taste in her mouth. She didn't care for him in the least. It angered her that he was proud he had slaughtered dozens of Manji warriors. Despite being unable to remember anyone from the clan outside of Yoshimitsu, she could still feel hatred brewing toward him for murdering former comrades. She looked toward his face and noticed he was grinning at her as if enjoying some sort of amusing joke. After seeing that expression, she couldn't help but look away in disgust.
'What is the holdup?' She thought to herself. Lee and his secretary had already arrived and they were sitting at one of the tables along with Dr. Abel. Heihachi was also there in his human form this time, sitting at the head of the table with Anna in his lap. Kunimitsu rolled her eyes in annoyance at the sickening pair. Cypher had of course taken his usual position of watching over Heihachi. She silently wondered why he had suddenly decided to start going without his mask. It was odd, but not too overly important. There also seemed to be something missing, but Kunimitsu just couldn't put her finger on it.
'Marduk, of course!' She suddenly realized. If there was one thing she could be certain of about Marduk, he had a horrible sense of time. She couldn't recall a single board meeting where he had actually shown up on time. It was to be expected though; Marduk wasn't exactly the corporate type. She couldn't help but smile and shake her head when he finally stormed into the room, breathing heavily. As usual, he was dressed in sweats which could only mean that he was working out yet again. She actually felt sorry for him since it was partially her fault. The gym had practically been like a second home to him every since she defeated him in their little skirmish. She hadn't even ran into him once there before that night, and now she saw him there every time she went to use some of the training equipment. He moved past her, receiving a brief nod as he dashed for a seat at the table.
'Late again I see?' Heihachi didn't sound very amused at his antics. How could anyone blame him either' Heihachi wasn't one who cared to waste any of his time.
Marduk casually leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms behind his head. 'Yes, you wouldn't believe the traffic?'
'I DON'T WANT YOUR EXCUSES!' Heihachi shouted, nearly startling Anna off of his lap. Closing his eyes and taking a very deep breath, Heihachi looked as if he was attempted to regain his composure.
Kunimitsu looked back at Marduk, who seemed visibly shaken. It was to be expected; Heihachi had never lost his cool like that during any of the other meetings. He's always managed to remain calm and collected no matter what the situation. She figured that his plans must have been moving along slower than he had hoped and he was on edge about the approaching attack. Come what may, she only cared about fighting one person. 'In all honesty, I wouldn't mind seeing Heihachi get what's coming to him.' She thought to herself. She turned her head just in time to see Heihachi remove his hand from Anna's leg and reach into his jacket pocket for something. He removed a golden object decorated with jewels and held it out so everyone in the room could see. Kunimitsu recognized it instantly, it was the Staff of Ogre she had stolen several weeks earlier.
'As almost all of you may already know, this is the Staff of Ogre.' Anna moved off of Heihachi so he could stand up. 'I've purposely waited this long to revive the God of Fighting because I felt it unnecessary.' He slowly moved toward the other side of the room, turning his back to everyone. 'But' My enemies are beginning to close in on me. It is time to move into the final stages of the plan.' Heihachi motioned his hand and Cypher walked toward him, drawing a handgun from his holster in the process.
'Wake me up when this is over?' Lee mumbled as he leaned back in his chair, propping his feet up on the table in the process.
Abel looked very unpleased with Lee and his actions. He slammed his fist down on the table, 'Shut up you brat! We are about to witness a scientific miracle!'
Things were becoming quite amusing for Kunimitsu. She couldn't help but enjoy seeing the Zaibatsu coming apart at the seams. She had wondered how long it would take for all of the false friendships to unravel. It was equally amusing to see that Lee had almost completely ignored Abel and his ramblings.
Across the room, Heihachi began tapping the keyboard connected to the large capsule. There were several loud beeps, followed by a ding to signify that code he entered was correct. The capsule made a loud hissing sound and filled the immediate area with mist. Kunimitsu suddenly caught on to what was happening. Though she was barely conscious at the time and could only recall the end of it, this looked very similar to the unfreezing process she had undergone over two months earlier. Though this process looked slightly more advanced than the one she experienced, she knew that must have been where Heihachi was keeping Ogre ever since he had recovered its body.
The machine continued to hiss loudly for almost a minute as the rest of the room watched on in curiosity. All eyes focused on Heihachi; many of them forgetting to blink in the process. 'In just a few more seconds' The real game begins.' The grin on Heihachi's face was wide enough that all of his teeth were beginning to show. He'd been waiting for this moment for over two years now and it was finally happening.
The capsule let out three more loud tings when the reanimation process was finally completed. Of course, Heihachi knew there would be no reanimation of Ogre until he used the item's power. He raised both arms above his head and then thrust the staff directly into the heart of Ogre. The jewels on the handle began to glow. A bright white light burst from Ogre's chest. Heihachi quickly pulled the staff from Ogre's body, causing the blinding light to shoot out and fill the entire room. Those who did not look away were forced to shield their eyes from the brightness. Throughout the room tables began to shake and shattering glass could be heard as beakers and flasks fell to the floor.
Slowly, Ogre began to rise from his coffin. Cypher pointed his weapon directly at the creatures head until Heihachi waved him away. Ogre took two steps and then stopped dead as Heihachi held out the staff in front of him. The legends were true, whoever held the Staff of Ogre could control the God of Fighting.
'Abel, go prepare yourself.' Heihachi commanded without turning away from Ogre. 'The rest of you, leave us!' He smiled as he watched Ogre remain motionless, only moving when he willed it. 'Except you, Kunimitsu. I have something I need to speak with you about.'
Kunimitsu looked toward him with curiosity. This was the first time he actually addressed her since she had stolen the artifact for him. She could only guess what he wanted this time, and none of her guesses seemed all too pleasant. She watched everyone leave, receiving sour expressions from some of them.
'Heh, good luck' Hope he doesn't test that monster out on you.' Marduk whispered as he passed by her.
She stared blankly back at him, 'Yeah' That's very reassuring of you?'
Marduk was the last to leave the room, slamming the door shut on his way out. Kunimitsu hopped down from her perch, never taking her eyes off of Heihachi in the process. She approached him hesitantly, still unaware of his true intentions.
'No need to be frightened my dear.' Heihachi turned toward her and smiled. 'You haven't gotten on my bad side yet?'
She tilted her head to the side curiously. 'What do you need this time?'
Heihachi crossed his arms as he returned his gaze to Ogre. 'Tell me Ms. Mitsu, what do you think of the God of Fighting' He was revived thanks to you after all.' He waved the item at her incase she had forgotten what he was speaking of.
'You really want to know?' Kunimitsu smiled and crossed her arms as well, imitating Heihachi. 'I think he's an abomination' Something that should have stayed dead.' At this point, she no longer cared what Heihachi thought. She wasn't about to kiss anyone's ass, especially not slime like him. 'But it doesn't matter, at least I got paid for retrieving the staff so you're free to do whatever you want with your new toy.' She put great emphasis on the final word, noting the strange fascination Heihachi seemed to have with Ogre.
Reeling his head back, Heihachi laughed loudly at her comments. He couldn't deny that he admired her courage and ability to speak whatever was on her mind. Heihachi had grown bored of all the yes men, a little criticism was nice for a change. 'I'll get right to my original point then, I have something I need to show you.
She watched him remove what appeared to be a television remote from his pocket. He pressed one of the buttons and a monitor next to her flickered on. Kunimitsu turned to face the screen; her jaw almost dropping at what she saw next. It looked like a tape from some sort of security camera located in the woods on the outskirts of the Zaibatsu compound. There, as clear as day, a samurai wearing a helmet shaped like a skull with strange tentacles dangling off of the back stepped into view. He looked directly into the camera and the swung his katana downward. The screen flashed and then there was nothing to look at besides static. Kunimitsu had never seen that armor before, but the aura the warrior gave off was unmistakable. 'Yoshimitsu?' She whispered, instantly recognizing him despite his new appearance.
Heihachi turned completely around to face her this time. 'Smart girl, I knew you'd catch on.' He moved closer to her, placing his hand on her shoulder. He grinned when felt her jump at his touch. 'This was taken just last night. I thought I'd show you because you seem much more levelheaded than Mr. Fury. I can't allow someone like him to just charge out and mess everything up for us.' Removing his hand, Heihachi moved to take a seat at the table once again. 'The goal is to lead Yoshimitsu into a false sense of security. If Bryan raced out there and was defeated, it could result in a full out assault that we just aren't prepared for yet.' Heihachi crossed his fingers and learned forward in his chair. 'What I need from you first is information. I need to know why Yoshimitsu so clumsily allowed himself to be spotted. I thought you Manji were smarted than that.'
Kunimitsu's eyes never left the blank screen, 'It's a warning, Yoshimitsu wants you to know that your death is coming.' She could feel her heart drop having once been in this same situation herself. 'After what you did to his clan and his village, I can't say I blame him at all.'
'Been snooping around have you?' Heihachi hadn't informed her of that incident, he felt it would make her question her loyalties. 'If it is any consolation, Abel orchestrated everything, I had nothing to do with the slaughtering of the innocent villagers.'
'BULLSHIT!' Kunimitsu slammed her fist down on a keyboard. 'You had everyone killed as part of your sick little game. If I fail, I hope to God Yoshimitsu slices out your black heart for everything you've done!' It was happening to her again, she was letting her emotions get out of check. It wasn't like her to feel general sadness or remorse for others.
Her words cut deep, but not deep enough. Once he had Ogre's cells within him, there would be no need to fear Yoshimitsu's wrath. 'Just make sure you don't fail! I've invested a lot of money and time into you. The Zaibatsu not only saved your life; but we've also clothed you, fed you, and gave you shelter. I don't like to see my investments wasted.' He stood up from his seat and grabbed a nearby chair. In a fit of rage, he lifted it up and threw it against the wall, shattering some valuable lab equipment. 'Just leave!'
She was more than happy to oblige. Kunimitsu greatly resented being called an investment. Taking one last look at the motionless Ogre, she left the room. She couldn't worry about Heihachi anymore. Now she had to prepare, Yoshimitsu would be arriving shortly.
Forest had lost track of the days he'd spend locked up in some sort of jail cell. The only courtesy he'd received since being captured was having his thigh bandaged up. Since then he was just thrown into a prison and left to rot. To pass the time between each terrible meal he was given, he trained his body through sit-ups and crunches. His leg still hadn't healed to the point that he could do any kind of practicing. He never once lost hope though. He was positive that his father would come to rescue him from his current predicament.
'Please, hurry dad?' His time spend in the cell had been miserable. His only company was a beautiful yet cold woman named Nina who was kept just across the hall from him. He'd seen that woman somewhere before, but he didn't know her name until now. The guards must have thought the lack of privacy for the two of them was rather amusing. Being chivalrous to a fault, he never once took advantage of the situation. He was always willing to give her the privacy that she deserved. Through such acts, he was even beginning to get her to open up to him to a point.
'So kid, when do you expect your friends to arrive?' Nina questioned with no hint of emotion in her voice at all.
Forest gave her his best attempt at a hopeful smile, 'They should be coming any day now. I just know they'll find me!' He learned against the bars of his cell. 'What about you, expecting anyone?'
Nina looked away from Forest, giving the expression of someone who'd long since lost hope. 'I have no friends or family, I only have myself to rely on.'
'When the time comes then, I promise I won't leave without you.' Forest's thoughts then went to the man he saw being dragged down the hall a few nights ago; the one wearing the black jumpsuit and the jaguar mask. Maybe it would be in everyone's best interest if they rescued him as well. They could use all the help they can get to escape this nightmare.
Nina looked over toward Forest's cell. She wasn't exactly trying to get anyone's pity with her comment, but it was still nice to know that someone actually cared about her well being. 'Thanks?' She allowed herself a brief smile before quickly shaking it off. Nina was usually out for herself, but she didn't mind lending a hand to help Forest escape for the time being. First came first though; she'd kill Anna the second she was free. She knew she could count on fighters like Marshall Law and Paul Phoenix to save the day. Now all she had to do was suffer a few more days in this hell. Things were beginning to look up for both of them.